News: Time zone change for road safety could split UK even if referendum doesn't

Lighter evenings could reduce number of accidents

Scottish roads

ROADS IN England, Wales and Northern Ireland could become safer if Scotland votes for independence this week, according to MPs and road safety groups that campaign to reform daylight-saving time.

Under the current arrangement the clocks are due to go back by one hour next month, making the mornings lighter but the evenings darker. The darker evenings have been blamed for road accidents, particularly involving children returning from school. Attempts at change have consistently been blocked by Scottish MPs, because Scots benefit more from the lighter mornings.

“If it’s ‘yes’, then there is no longer any need to take into account the opinions of anybody in Scotland, which would free up the debate and, in our view, make change more likely,” said Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Mullarkey said that several MPs were ready to introduce a private member’s bill to change Britain’s time zone to Central European Time, which is an hour ahead of Britain, if they got the opportunity after the referendum.

Even if Scotland votes to remain part of the UK, the increased autonomy that has been promised may allow it to remain in the current time zone while the rest of the country moves forward by an hour, according to David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. “Even if there’s a ‘no’ vote, it could still go through,” he said.

The Transport Research Laboratory has calculated that 82 deaths and 212 serious injuries could be avoided each year if evenings were lighter in the winter, although these figures do include Scotland.


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